As a fly angler, one of the aspects I most enjoy is tying flies. This art form of creating imitations of food that fish feed on is not only creative, it is a valuable part of the education process while learning about fly fishing. Without a general understanding of fish forage, I believe there will be a missing piece in the bigger puzzle of becoming a successful fly angler.
In nature, the insects and other forage that populate our waters are the food sources that fish depend upon to survive. Fish forage exists in all shapes, sizes and colors and is distributed in wide variation throughout the different cold, warm, flowing and still water environments where fish live. Because the basic premiss in fishing is to fool the fish into eating the meal that is attached to our line, anglers in general should be interested in the identification and life cycles of fish forage, to become more successful at catching fish.
In the world of fly tying there are literally millions of patterns designed to imitate the insects, crustaceans, terrestrials, leeches and minnows that fish eat. Using a combination of natural and artificial materials that are either tied on or wrapped around a hook, anglers from all over the world strive to create just the right imitation of forage in their local waters to outsmart their targeted species of fish. These patterns have specific recipes so they can be copied by anglers seeking new imitations for their own waters or to prepare for travel to fishing destinations they are unfamiliar with. There are no machines that tie flies, so each is a hand made creation.
Fly tying often times lures anglers into researching and understanding more clearly the importance of a question often asked in fly fishing, and in all fishing for that matter. "What are they biting on?" Having the answer............... is the key to your success.
Fly tying classes in the Midwest begin after the first of the year. When the onset of winter is apparent, fly tiers from all over the region begin to prepare their arsenal of flies for the upcoming season. Once the tools and skills are acquired, fly anglers generally tie all season long enabling them to create just the right imitations any time, any where, in hopes of fooling their most challenging adversary.
Keep an eye on Gray Goat Fly Fishing for the upcoming fly tying classes,,,, at a location near you.